As of April 20th we have been on the Rosebud Reservation for four years. During that entire time, with the exception of two months of furlough, we have had our eyes opened to a world that we did not know existed- even though we spoke about it to the best of our knowledge at the churches we visited. Those of you who have faithfully read our prayer letters and followed the lives of some of our people through those letters will agree that this is as needy of a place as anywhere in the world. I read of missionaries who are on the field and in four years they have native pastors or at least teachers and helpers and those who will go soul winning with them. This is not a place where we see those results, and yet it does not lessen the need, but makes it more urgent. One thing that you will discover about me, and maybe it is a fault, is that I am transparent. I try to be that way with our people so that they know we face the same struggles as they do. Yet, I try to show them that we don’t live on our feelings or make rash judgments because of our circumstances.
Along that line, I have tried to let you in on the real world of this missionary and his family without coming across as negative or defeated. In this place we have experienced more senseless death and self-destruction and heartache than we knew existed. We have stood beside those that we tried to minister to who ended their lives prematurely through drugs, alcohol, foolish decisions or through suicide. We have seen people experience a glimmer of hope as they chose to serve God only to throw it all away or be pulled back into the abyss.
Throught all this time God has sustained us and given us grace to minister to others. But all of these things that we have gone through did not prepare us for what happened on the 23rd of April.
My best friend, my brother in Christ, took his own life after falling in this spiritual war that we are in. I would not hesitate to tell you that my family is traumatized by this great loss. We have not given up on God or turned from Him but are seeking the comfort only He can bring. And yet we are still having a difficult time. Our suffering comes from the loss of one that I considered a brother and whom my children called “Uncle”. I met Steve right after he got saved and we became good friends. When he married my wife’s good friend, Janet, they moved into the same apartment complex. He surrendered to preach and while he was at school he encouraged me to come to Bible College. For 18 years he was like a brother to me and I miss him every day.
Another part of our suffering comes from the loss that his famly, our family, is dealing with. They hold an important place in our hearts, so their suffering is our suffering. I am thankful that I have seen the hand of God in their lives during this time, giving them sufficient grace for each day. Our most urgent prayer request is for our extended family, the Teskes: for Janet and her four children, Juliet, Luke, Maddy and Sarah. Please pray that God will give Janet wisdom as she seeks to serve the Lord and rasie her family to honor the God that her husband and their father served. Pray that God will use other believers, and maybe even you, the help her and encourage her. This past month we have also lost a dear friend in Celeste Peneaux, who died of a heart attacke and in Velma Crow Eagle, who passed away from cancer. Both of these ladies were some of the first people we ever met after we moved here. We had good opportunities at both the wakes and the funerals to lift up our Saviour and His GIft of Eternal life. Also, Cleveland Kills in Sight passed away of a heart attack last week after a short return from the hospital. We are happy to report that he made a profession of faith in one of our services last year. Please pray for the families of these three and especially for Brock, the husband of Velma.
We had the privilege of having one young man saved in his home, CJ who along with his girlfriend, Tammy, another young lady, Marcella, and our own daughter AImee, were baptized on Easter Sunday. Our daughter had made a profession of faith earlier in her life but made sure of it on her birthday last year thanks to a letter from her Grammy who expressed her desire for all of her grandchildren to know the Lord. Thank God for good parents and grandparents!
We want to thank those who participated and sent preaching CDs and music CDs for us to play on the radio. We are still interested in getting special music from your church as long as it is of sufficient sound quality to play over the radio. We appreciate you all and thank God every day for your faithfulness to Him and friendship towards us and the people that God loves.